Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday

Jimmy Kennedy

In 1907, music composer John Walter Batton wrote the music for The Teddy Bear’s Picnic. In 1932, Jimmy Kennedy added the lyrics to Batton’s melody and the teddy bears came to life. In 1987, I sat in front of a record player in grade school and listened to Bing Crosby sing the story of the Teddy Bear Picnic as my teacher gifted us with the hand and body motions.

The Teddy Bear Picnic was a tool my teacher used to help her young students gain focus. It was a way that she helped us manage anxious moments. We would gather on the carpet around her rocking chair, each of us with our own teddy bears in our laps, and she would turn on the record. On stormy days, or sad days, or days we needed calm, my teacher would encourage us to cuddle those bears and sing a song of imagination.

A man name Ed Martin was once a vibrant youth minister here at St. Paul’s. Ed instilled the lessons of faith, of Methodism, and of a love for Jesus into countless young members over his time here. I came to know Ed during my first appointment when he was a member at the church I served. Tate would go on to mentor Ed’s two son’s, who have become dear friends of ours and join us at Theology at Theopolis.

When I announced that I would be coming to serve the mission field here at St. Paul’s, Ed was the very first person to reach out to me and tell me what a wonderful church this was. He shared stories of his time here and how impactful it had been on his journey.

Since being at St. Paul’s, I’ve learned many things about my friend Ed. Former youth members and their parents have shared the ways Ed impacted many lives and the legacy he left for St. Paul’s, one we are rekindling and visioning a strong future for.

One of these stories is about Teddy Bears. Each youth member would receive a Teddy Bear from Ed on their birthday every year. Something special that said they mattered and he cared.

I can remember just how powerful, even at my age today, a good squeeze of a teddy bear or a longer cuddle can be, making the world seem a little more tolerable. Teddy Bears are great huggers and they are super absorbent when you need to have a good cry. They are also incredibly forgiving when you hug too tight, don’t hug for months, get them dirty, and drop them on the floor. I think adults and teenagers, though their struggles are bigger than the ones of most children, still have an inner child that needs to express emotion. What a gift these Teddy Bears can be.

I was talking with Marnie Fernandez recently, daughter of Jerry and Nancy Glasgow, and former youth member under Ed. She was sharing about how powerful Ed’s ministry was to her life. We were discussing the future of the youth ministry we are building and the new space we are renovating for their mission and disciple work. Together we decided that a great way to help raise money for our new mission center, which will be home to our youth, would be to honor Ed’s ministry in Shawnee through a mission to local children.

St. Paul’s member Shirley Williams was a school teacher for many years. Dedicating herself to instilling education, compassion, and faith in her students, Shirley also dedicated herself to sharing love. A collector of stuffed animals, Shirley would offer her students an opportunity to “adopt” a stuffed animal and provide care for them. There is more to this story I hope to share with you, through Shirley’s words another time. Yet the message and lesson remains. There is something special in how loving a stuffed animal, a furry friend, a teddy bear, helps our hearts to grow. And helps us to learn how to love others. Love helps us grow. The teachers know!

The tEDdy Bear Campaign is our way of doing just that. For $125, $1 for every year St. Paul’s has been in mission, the youth will donate a tEDdy Bear to a student at Jefferson Elementary. We have children at Jefferson who need a safe hug, extra love, and something that expresses our genuine care for them.

There is sunshine in the forecast and a Teddy Bear Picnic is predicted for Jefferson Elementary next spring. With 320 students, we need your help to ensure each student receives a tEDdy bear. All of the proceeds of the bears will go to support our second floor Mission Center. That’s two missions in 1. That’s double the impact. That’s a witness to a legacy of love.

If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise

For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Ev’ry teddy bear who’s been good

Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
Cause that’s the way the teddy bears have their picnic

If you go down to the woods today
You’d better not go alone
It’s lovely down in the woods today
But safer to stay at home

For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout;
They never have any care;

At six o’clock their mummies and daddies,
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little teddy bears.

Teddy Bear Picnic Lyrics
Rev. Dr. Tiffany A. Nagel Monroe
Lead Pastor